Mumbai: No more than 1.8% of the funds released for Smart Cities Mission (SCM) have been utilised since its launch in 2015, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Urban Development has reported.
JNNURM had similarly suffered shortfalls in implementation and fund utilisation, largely due to a lack of capacity at the local administration level, IndiaSpend reported in May 2013.
From 2005 to 2014, just 37% of urban infrastructure projects and 52% of basic urban services projects were completed under JNNURM. Rs 54 crore ($8.9 million) had remained unspent by the end of the programme.
A report released by the Comptroller & Auditor General (CAG) in November 2012 reviewing JNNURM performance had pointed to poor project management, recruitment challenges and difficulty in doing business at the municipal level.
States and union territories had been requested to set up state level nodal agencies to manage project execution and build project implementation units. However, the CAG report found that 10 states had not established these, and in several states vacancies had remained unfilled.
Similarly, special purpose vehicles, tasked with appraising and releasing funds, as well as managing smart city project implementation, were equally slow to begin operation. And there were reports of cities taking over a year to appoint project management consultants.
For instance, Kochi, selected for development as a smart city in February 2016, had yet to complete a single project due to burdensome legislation and delays in appointing a project management consultant by February 2017, as the Hindu reported in February 2017.